of 54,000 people some 72 kilometres south of Perth
, the capital of Western Australia
. It is the second largest city in the state, although it is somewhat of a dormatory town
. Its name is an anglicisation of Mandjar
- meaning 'meeting place
' in the local Aboriginal
Mandurah is situated between the Indian Ocean and the Peel Inlet, which has recently been dredged and modified to accomodate residential canal developments. Despite being one of the fastest growing cities in Australia (in 1987 it only had a population of 12,700), it is still quite laid back, attracting families on holiday and retirees rather than the kind of gung ho development that hit the Gold Coast (too tourist-y) or Byron Bay (too wanky) in the Eastern States. The waterways available allow for fishing, crabbing, swimming, recreational cruising and waterskiing.
The first European settlement around Mandurah was made in the 1840's, after Englishman Sir Thomas Peel failed after many years to establish a viable settlement in nearby Woodman's Point (his folly in the Swan River mania of the 1820's was cited by Karl Marx in Das Kapital).
A railway is expected to link Mandurah with Perth by 2006.